A Walk In The Park

It’s time I introduce my amazing travel partner and best-friend with four legs. She’s going to be making appearances in my blog and will probably be doing her best to showcase important things that she thinks the reader should be paying close attention to in my pictures.

Adopted from the Greyhound Adoption Center in El Cajon, California, Vienna is a rescue from the Caliente racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico. An injury to her back leg ended her racing career at any early age. Volunteers brought her to the San Diego facility where she was rehabilitated and prepped for a life in a home with a loving family.

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As a sighthound, she can see up to an amazing three miles into the distance. Some greyhounds are nervous about their new life. Not this one. She walked right up to my cat-loving husband and laid her head in his lap and asked to be accepted into our family.  It took more time for me, the dog lover to get used to her, than she to me in those early days! But we grew to understand one another. I might’ve given her an amazing new life with cushy big beds, a weather-proof jacket and endless toys…but while I was going through my divorce, she gave me back my life. She took me on walks. She laughed at my silliness. She licked my face when I cried. She made sure I met all our neighbors, every person or creature in the pet stores, and most importantly, each dog at the park.

I want to also note that I have never seen a dog get so much free stuff wherever we go. It’s astounding. She knows how to work a crowd!

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While living in San Diego, we gathered with other greyhounds and their families in a park north of where we lived, and on Saturdays at Balboa Park as often as we could. It was an amazing, supportive community. She loved being an “ambassadog” and would often stray from the group of hounds (towing me with her) to lean up against someone who was curious about the group of dogs but too shy to approach and ask. Just by being who she is, she makes everyone she meets feel a little bit happier.

When we moved to Tucson, there was a Greyhound group but I never was able to pin them down and make friends with a single Greyhound owner. And boy, did I try. And try. For over a year, she never saw one of her kind. I felt so bad. She did have several Labrador friends (but it’s not quite the same–they just don’t get where you’re coming from, she says).

Having made the move to the Pacific Northwest, we’re now up to our eyeballs in Greyhound friends. She even has a couple of “boyfriends” that she keeps inline.

We’re both getting used to my full-time work schedule and to being apart so much during the day. It’s hard on both of us. In the morning when she lays her head in my lap and looks up at me with sad brown eyes, I know she’s asking me if I’d rather stay at home with her and watch a movie together. The answer is yes, of course!

She knows several words. Lately, she gets hyped up when I say, “do you want to go explore?” From her, the answer is yes, of course! We go on drives, we hunt out parks. We walk down streets of historic neighborhoods and we sniff as we go past bakeries. (And we both drool at the smell of fresh baked cookies.) We go on my days off, rain or shine.

For several weeks, we were going to a park not far from where we lay our heads at night. We’d go and circle it several times, walking past the children’s playground and around the ballpark areas before driving home. I thought that we had discovered the limits of the park until I saw a couple one day looking down at something. Come to find out, it was a map. The park was actually gigantic and it had dog walking trails and fenced open fields: one for outgoing dogs and another for shy dogs. Low and behold, our world opened up and we now end our trips to this park both exhausted–and grinning from ear to ear.

Vienna was named after the city of music. The intention was to name her something elegant, because she is an elegant, graceful dog. However, she’s mostly a goofball with a lot of nicknames–none of which she answers to, tho’.

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She’s excited to know you’re here. If she could, she’d lean up against you and welcome you. We both know that the world has some great stuff in it. Vienna says it smells great, too. We’re both very happy to have you reading about our adventures–but I’m pretty certain she’s not an introvert.

And that’s okay by me.

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Writer, artist, and traveling introvert who loves the broad smile of a dog, the shape of a square, and a really good story. Never without her camera and a notebook, she's always on the lookout for the beautiful, the interesting, and the bizarre.